Most helpful positive review
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Only buy this if you’re lonely...!
on 15 January 2004
Here, the South develop on the more-polished sound they developed on their previous record, 0898, whilst laying the groundwork for the more popular albums to come. The sound and lyrical concerns are pretty much as they were on the previous releases, with the soul exception of new vocalist Jackie Abbott... who replaced the excellent Briana Corrigan after a dispute over the lyrical content found here.
In all fairness, Abbot does an admirable job on a number of duets with co-vocalists Heaton and Hemmingway, as well as giving a strong solo performance of Fred Neil’s classic, Everybody’s Talking; one of this record’s biggest hits. Elsewhere, Heaton takes charge of the majority of the cuts, crooning along in his trademark style, whilst proving once again that he is perhaps Britain’s most underrated soul singer.
The album’s instrumentation is as layered and varied as ever, moving effortlessly from soft pop-ballads to more witty, folk infused numbers. There’s also elements of funk and dub on the Norman Cook collaboration, Hooligans Don’t Fall in Love, which features probably the best Rotheray guitar arrangement since Girlfriend, from the first South album, Welcome To... Needless to say, the musicianship of the band as a whole is - as-ever - faultless.
Other stylistic detours here include a sideline into Beach Boys-style jangle pop with the record’s biggest hit, Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud). Though the title may not seem immediately recognisable, I assure you that the classic hook-line “I want my love, my joy, my laugh my smile, my needs... I want my sun-drenched, wind-swept Ingrid Bergman kiss” will have you tapping your foot like nobody’s business.
Other standout tracks are the intimate, though often cynical Especially for You (definitely not to be confused with the bland 80’s Kylie hit of the same name) and the infamous Andrew Lloyd Webber parody, Mini-Correct. Personally, I think this song is great, just about over-coming it’s shocking misogyny to instead, present us with a wonderful condemnation of ladishness and lad culture in general. You have been warned...!
However, the real reason to buy this album is track five... the beautiful ballad Pretties Eyes. Here we have a love song that deals with characters firmly outside of the key demographic... an idea that would become an archetypical concern in later South songs, such as Perfect 10 and ‘Till You Cant Took it in. This is the first, and best, variation on the theme... a stunning, and certainly undervalued pop classic in every respect of the word.
This is a great record. Lovely pop songs with an underlining social substance. It may not make any great leaps in musical experimentation; but if you want an album filled with good, solid songs performed by people with talent... then you wont go far wrong with this one. Miaow...!